Many of our clients that are looking for homes for sale in Telluride, CO are also intrigued in the prospect of purchasing land for their dream home or another future investment. Buying land is a great option but there are some things to consider when purchasing it or any piece of real estate.
We’ve outlined some important topics to discuss with your real estate agent when you’re in the market for land for sale.
Zoning and Setbacks
Most buyers looking for land as the site of a future home will only be looking at residential zones, but there are several other zone classifications for land. Land can be designated for use as commercial, industrial, agricultural, mixed-use, residential, and so on. The local planning department keeps track of land parcels and their accompanying zones. This department can also tell you if there are any building setbacks imposed on the property so you can determine the size of house you are legally able to build on the land.
When buying land or homes in residential areas, it’s often not a concern about having access to your property, but for undeveloped land you’ll need to ensure you have legal access to your property, especially through roads or right-of-way designations. Know what rights your neighbors or local agencies have as well, so you’re not trespassing on property that’s not yours and so you can protect the property that is. You’ll also want stipulations in your contract saying the access is transferable if you should ever sell your land in the future and that it’s not revocable by another party.
It’s also important here to mention easements, the use of someone else’s property for a specific use. Perhaps your local government has an easement on your property for a future road right where you’ve planted a garden or built a barn.
Having access to roads or the potential to build roads is extremely important when considering buying land. Similar to access rights, if your property is landlocked and there are no roads to use, how will you legally get to your property without trespassing? You can also use an easement with your neighbors to build a road through their property but don’t expect to get an easement like that for free.
These are rights that many buyers overlook or don’t think long-term about. Owning the mineral rights on your property ensures that no third parties can touch your land to access the minerals without your permission. If your deed does not grant you mineral rights, you may be poorly compensated as a mining company tears up and digs in your lawn or garden.
The ability to have power and utilities can make or break a contract. Even if you can see power lines from the piece of land, it doesn’t guarantee that the power company has to provide you with it. Know the local power company’s rules and the availability of electricity to the land before you’re cut off from the outside world. When assessing utilities, you’ll also want to take into consideration trash services and how far away the nearest garbage collection center is.
Water, Sewer and Drainage
Will your parcel have access to the city’s water supply and sewage system or will you have the right to outfit your property on your own? If you can put in your own, be sure to test the land and systems before buying. A percolation test or “perk test” evaluates how quickly water drains through the soil and should be done before purchase to see if the property can have a septic system on-site.If you can’t build on the property or properly connect with utilities, this probably won’t be a wise purchase as the spot for your new home.
You’ll want to understand the tax rate on the property as well and make sure that it’s in proportion to the value of the land.
Previous use is important for commercial properties to understand how the land was used before and if there are any environmental concerns or contaminations. When purchasing this type of land, many banks will actually require certain environmental or risk reports to be filed to ensure they’re adequately representing the collateral.
These are some important considerations for purchasing land but buying land can be an excellent choice with amazing benefits depending on your real estate needs. Under the right circumstances, purchasing land is a solid investment but like any real estate purchase, it must be considered carefully and thoroughly.
Still have questions about buying land in Telluride, CO? We’re happy to help by answering your questions or providing more information on the process and requirements. Please contact us when you’re ready.